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21 AUGUST 2018

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Iwasa: Brutally Brilliant in Osaka

Iwasa wins IBF 122 title
Iwasa wins IBF 122 title

By Derek Bonnett

A word to the wise: if you want a judge to score the blood in boxing, try yellow gloves. In the Sweet Science a blemish or two can mean a world of experience for a world-title challenger. Making his second attempt to win a world crown , Ryosuke Iwasa looked past his stoppage defeats to Shinsuke Yamanaka and Lee Haskins, and focused solely on dethroning his fellow countryman Yukinori Oguni at EDION Arena in Osaka, Japan.


Iwasa, in his fifth 122-pound appearance since losing to Haskins at bantamweight, wasted no time establishing a powerful southpaw jab to sync up his left cross. Iwasa worked the body of the champion as well in the first frame and he stunned the champion early. A stiff left hand, perfectly timed and placed, dumped Oguni on the canvas near the end of round one. Iwasa, 27, stayed on point and hunted the champion with more lefts. The champion was rocked back on his heels frequently, usually from the impact of a single punch. The challenger’s punches remained crisper and Oguni was almost immediately forced to fight emotionally in response. The champion extended himself by reaching on his punches, making them easy for Iwasa to avoid or shake off. Again, a crisp left cross dropped the champion flat on his back midway through round two. It was a picture perfect exchange. Oguni rose, bruised under both eyes, but ready to fight. The same punch variety dropped the champion for a third time near the end of the round. Oguni’s mouth now flowed crimson. The champion came out for the third loading up to the body, but he found Iwasa more settled down and composed on defense. The challenger had built his lead and now set his pace at cruise control to continue his authoritative performance.


Oguni, 29, took his third round stride to mount a comeback in the fourth. The champion received a break from the referee when a point was deducted from the challenger for pushing down on the head of the champion with little warning. Oguni made the most of it and won the round on the SecondsOut card unofficially. Oguni landed some well-timed one-twos and doubled up on his left hook to the body as Iwasa slowed his attack. The fifth round saw excellent two-way exchanges. Oguni still targeted the body with his left hook. The champion brought his right hand in to nail the challenger squarely on the chin late in the stanza. Iwasa sat back long enough and resumed his two-fisted attack in the sixth and found immediate results as he battered champion with fight-ending intentions. Iwasa, cut over his left eye, bloodied the mouth of the champion so intensely that his yellow gloves resembled the brutal, kinetic beauty of a Jace McTier boxing portrait. Wisely, the referee intervened to have the champion examined by the ringside physician to end the Fight of the Year contender.


Iwasa lifted his ledger to 24-2-0 (16) to establish himself among the top ten best 122-pounders in the world today. Oguni, immediately danced with the notion of retirement following the bout, fell to 19-2-1 (7).

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